Flint Hill


Location: Coopersburg, PA
Country: US

My Latest Followers:

sleepingangel Ken Longfield Strumelia


youtube videos: 10
images: 14
Groups: 2
videos: 3
audio tracks: 10

Killy Kranky (Killiecrankie)

musician/member name:
Duration: 00:01:39
Killy Kranky is a traditional southern US play-party song that I learned around 1963 from a Jean Ritchie LP (probably Elektra EKL 125, 1957). There's a more elaborate version on Jean's album "The Most Dulcimer". Collectors have found the song throughout the Southern and Midwestern US.The words and tune are not obviously related to those of "The Braes of Killiecrankie". I found one intermediate version (text only) that contains lyrics from both songs in L.W. Burkhalter's biography of Gideon Lincecum.It's played here on a Ben Seymour Galax dulcimer tuned EBBB which starts an E Ionian scale on the third fret of the paired melody strings.The tune ends on the fifth (B) rather than the tonic (E). It's pentatonic, lacking the fourth and seventh scale degrees (Bronson mode 1).You can also play it in G in Galax tuning (DDDD), starting the scale on the third fret of the melody strings.
Flint Hill
05/10/10 10:27:34PM @flint-hill:
Lorri, thanks much. I appreciate the encouragement. There's an innocence to these old play party tunes that I find appealing.
Flint Hill
05/08/10 08:21:20PM @flint-hill:
Thanks, both of you.Randy, a play party was an extremely chaste dance party for religions that prohibited dancing (e.g. the Southern, Primitive, and Old Regular Baptists). Play parties allowed only a capella singing, because many of these churches also prohibited musical instruments in their services, let alone for dancing! Teenagers did round, line, and square dances, with the only body contact being arm and elbow swings.The dances were choreographed for specific songs. All the moves were prescribed affording no opportunity for naughty or titillating improvisation.Of course this type of dancing goes back centuries, but the play-party movement in the US grew up in the 1830s and died out in the 1950s. Grammar school students are taught some of the same dances today as recreation and musical instruction.Common tunes were Skip to My Lou, Old Dan Tucker, Buffalo Girls, Thread the Needle and the like.Pagan language was eliminated or euphemized. For example, "maple" became"maypole" in "Winding Up the Maple Leaf".
Randy Adams
05/08/10 07:00:35PM @randy-adams:
This is great Ken. The new dulcimer fits your style so perfectly. What does play party mean?
Dusty Turtle
05/08/10 02:37:27PM @dusty:
Sounds great! I really like your fingerpicking.
Flint Hill
05/07/10 10:27:50AM @flint-hill:
Thanks, Keigh. I also have wondered about this song and its relation to the Scottish Killicrankie song. The two have been discussed on mudcat a bit, but there's nothing there that helps much. I was really interested to find the mixed-lyric fragment in Lincecum's biography. It has the meter, and mostly the words, of the play-party tune, but it mentions the braes of Killicrankie in the last line. Lincecum was a smart man, a doctor much interested in music, so he may have known both songs and added the line about the braes himself.I'm sorry for the buzzing background noise on this one. I mixed it late at night and had the speakers turned down low enough that I didn't realize the noise was this bad. I tracked down the problem this morning and fixed it, and will probably re-record the song, at least as an audio clip.
05/06/10 11:42:29PM @folkfan:
I enjoyed your version of Killy Kranky very much. I've always enjoyed Jean Ritchie's playing of it and have often wondered how this interesting dance tune developed. The other Killiecrankie about the battle in Scotland where Bonnie Dundee, or Bloody Claverhouse, depending on which side you were on, died is the one I sing.
Flint Hill
05/06/10 07:13:21PM @flint-hill:
Thanks much, folks. I really appereciate the encouragement.Robin, I got this dulcimer off ebay with a buy-it-now bid last week. I just happened to catch it not long after it was posted.It's a 2001 KudzuPatch cherry, double-back Galax in really decent shape. It sounds great, not brassy at all, but much louder than the YAM or the old Musical Traditions dulcimers.Does it sound better than the other two? They both sound wonderful to me, but as Jerry Garcia once said, "On this planet louder IS better" 3.gif .
Robin Thompson
05/06/10 06:43:52PM @robin-thompson:
How cool! Ken, when did you get this dulcimer? Does everybody but me know you had it? 39.gif Jean's version of Killiecrankie on The Most Dulcimer is the one with which I'm familiar. You do her honor with your play of the tune.
05/06/10 05:47:10PM @strumelia:
Oh my, I could listen to that all day long, seriously. I wish Jean Ritchie could hear this- she would just love it.and...You lucked out big time getting that dulcimer, Ken!!!